- By Rebekah Rejniak
- Photos Courtesy of Goldenvoice
April is finally here, and that means festival season has commenced, starting with the behemoth of all festivals: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. More commonly referred to as just “Coachella,” a name that takes on a different meaning depending what circles you run in.
Although Coachella is now synonymous with spring fashion campaigns and Instagram hashtags (#festivalstyle #coachellastyle #coachellafashion) it wasn’t always a branded commodity in the world of prêt-à-porter. The festival originated in 1999 with headliners Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Tool, Morrissey, and Rage Against the Machine, filling the much-needed role as “the anti-Woodstock.” Initially set to be a three-day festival, that plan was shot down by promoters after the disastrous riots at Woodstock ’99, just three months earlier. From there it was an uphill climb, with the festival making its mark in the music world year-by-year. In 2004, Coachella sold out for the first time. In 2007, the show was granted three-day status for good behavior. In 2012, two weekends with identical line-ups were offered to the public, sparking concern. Rolling Stone called it a “very risky move,” stating there was “no guarantee that demand [would be] high enough to sell out the same bill over two consecutive weekends.” Both weekends sold out in three hours. Tickets would again sell out in 2014 and 2015, but this time in 20 minutes flat. VIP passes costing over $5,000 each would sell out hours later.
Jumping back to the different connotations Coachella carries with it, brings us to 2013, the year that Coachella became not just a music festival, but also a fashion collective. That was the year when “Coachella Style” became a searchable entity online and brands began advertising Coachella-specific apparel. Just ask Urban Outfitters, who is being sued by the festival for “alleged trademark infringement” for marketing several items as: Free People’s “Coachella Boot,” “Coachella Mini Dress,” “Coachella Pocket Tank” and “Coachella Valley Tunic.” Not bad for a festival whose ticket price point started at $50 (but has since risen to $399 for basic, General Admission passes).
Now, the music. After Beyoncé made headlines in February, announcing her pregnancy and shortly thereafter her withdrawal from the festival (she would have been the second two-time female headliner, after Björk) the proverbial day was saved by Lady Gaga, stepping in to serve as the major headliner. Fellow headlining acts are Radiohead, who if you’ve never seen live, sweet Jesus, prepare yourself, and Kendrick Lamar whose steady ascent to headliner status has been thrilling to behold. Other acts not to be missed: The Avalanches, as this will be their first US show in a decade, Phantogram, whose dreamily, haunted live sets are generally a visual orgasm, Crystal Castles, mainly because I’m curious to see how Edith Frances fares in comparison to former front-woman Alice Glass (and judging from her Instagram she looks legit), Tove Lo, whose name on the line-up poster is in print much smaller than her presence, Röyksopp, whose electronic dance parties are anything but pretentious and certainly a religious experience, SURVIVE is exciting because the relative newcomers are responsible for creating the original soundtrack for Stranger Things, Tycho, not because they’ll bring the house down (they might) but ambient, chillwave acts often fly under the radar at Coachella, blowing expectations out of the water. And most notably, Coachella has embraced a hefty rap line-up, booking: Future, ScHoolboy Q, Gucci Mane, Denzel Curry, GoldLink, Lil Uzi Vert, Mac Miller, Nav, Stormzy, Swet Shop Boys, Tory Lanez and Travis Scott.
Coachella is sold out and 150 acts are booked for both three-day weekends—April 14-16th and April 21-23rd. 600,000 attendees are expected to visit Southern California for the event.
For all things happening at Coachella, click here.